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Bengal SOS for Haldia dock

Calcutta, Dec. 2: The Bengal government has proposed that Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) make investments to set up an oil jetty and a terminal to save Haldia Dock Complex, which has been threatened by the proposed IOC pipeline from Paradeep to Haldia.

IOC chairman M. S. Ramachandran, who had called on the state industry minister Nirupam Sen today, said the company would look into the feasibility of the proposed projects and then take a decision.

Ramachandran has, however, said IOC will not be the sole promoter of the projects and the government should invite investments from other players as well.

Haldia Dock’s survival has been threatened by IOC’s plan of going ahead with the pipeline project with an investment of a little over Rs 1,100 crore.

The IOC crude comprised about 50 per cent of the total cargo handled by Haldia Dock, which is the most profitable dock system of Calcutta Port Trust.

Ramachandran said the pipeline project is important for IOC which was till now affected by the heavy freight problem while bringing in crude for the Haldia refinery due to poor navigability of the Haldia dock system. “The water depth is so less that a very large crude carrier cannot be brought here, thus adversely affecting the economies of scale. This is why we have decided to import crude in the Paradeep region where the required draft in the sea is available,” he said.

The capacity of the proposed pipeline will be 11 million tonnes.

Once the pipeline is set up, the company will be able to save over Rs 400 crore in a year and a return on investment is expected after two and a half years, he said.

Ramachandran has, however, apprised the industry minister about the company’s plan to use Haldia as a hub for exporting products to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which will ultimately benefit the dock system.

“The pipeline will ultimately lead to an investment of around Rs 4,000 crore in the eastern region, a bulk of which will come to Bengal. It will help in expanding Haldia refinery’s capacity,” he said.

While an investment of Rs 1,518 crore has been earmarked for a hydro-cracker plant and Rs 359 crore for producing good quality motor spirit in the Haldia refinery, around Rs 677 crore will be invested for quality motor spirit in Barauni refinery.

But, he said, if the pipeline were not laid it would be very difficult to run Haldia, Barauni and the Bongaigaon refineries by bringing crude to Haldia Dock.

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